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The PILs have been filed by Advocate Ashwini Upadhyay and a number of Muslim women contesting the constitutionality of nikah halala, polygamy, and other related practices recognized by Section 2 of the Shariat Act.
After the petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the practice of polygamy and Nikah-Halala were mentioned today before a CJI Chandrachud led bench, by Advocate Ashwini Upadhyay, the CJI today said that he would be constituting a 5 judge bench to hear the matter.
"There are important matters pending before 5 judge benches. We'll constitute one and bear this one in mind", said the CJI.
In August, a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court had in fact issued notices in this batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Section 2 of the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937, alleging that it is violative of Article 14, 15, 21 of the Constitution, insofar as it recognizes and validates the practice of polygamy and Nikah-Halala.
A Constitution bench of the top court comprising Justices Indira Banerjee, Hemant Gupta, Surya Kant, MM Sundresh, and Sudhanshu Dhulia had issued notice to the National Commission for Women, National Minority Commission, and National Human Rights Commission to respond to the issues raised by the petitions.
The petitions have challenged the practice of Polygamy (allowing husbands to have multiple wives), Nikah-Halala (after divorce, a woman has to necessarily consummate another marriage and get a divorce to marry her earlier husband), Nikah mut’ah, and Nikah al-misyar (temporary marriage contracts without marital rights) which have been validated in Section 2 of the Act.
The following issues have been raised in the petitions:
It may also be noted that the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has also moved an application for impleadment in the matter. While referring to Section 29 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, the AIMPLB's application stated that “the laws relating to marriage and divorce of Hindus themselves are not uniform and thus the customs and practices have been protected by the Statute itself by adding Section 29(2) of the Act.” Case of Riju Prasad Sarma v. State of Assam, (2015) 9 SCC 461 has been relied on in this regard.
Case Title: Ashwini Upadhyay vs. Union of India
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